Tactical Common Data Link to be installed on two Shadow small UAVs under terms of Army contract to AAI

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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 15 March 2011. U.S. Army leaders are asking engineers at AAI Corp. in Hunt Valley, Md., to install the Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) on two RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to enable these small UAVs to send radar, streaming video, imagery, and other data to ground stations in near real time.


AAI won a $12.6 million contract, announced Monday, from the Army Contracting command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., in install Tactical Common Data Link equipment on two Shadow UAVs.

The Shadow UAV is a trailer-mounted, catapult-launched UAV for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. The UAV, which is about 11 feet long with a 13-foot wingspan, has a gimbal-mounted stabilized electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) camera and other sensors. The unmanned aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of about 300 pounds.

The TCDL is a secure data link designed to send encrypted data and streaming video to ground stations at high speeds. The data link uses a Ku narrowband uplink for payload and vehicle control, and a wideband downlink for sending radar, imagery, video, and other sensor information to ground stations at speeds from 1.5 to 10.7 megabits per second over distances as far as 120 miles.

AAI experts will do the work in Hunt Valley, Md., and should be finished by next month. For more information contact AAI online at www.aaicorp.com, or the Army contracting Command at www.army.mil/acc.


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